Thursday, March 31, 2011

Upcoming Classes!

April 2 1-4
FEE: 40.00
TEACHER: Deb Marvin
Over 15,000 and counting, this is maybe the most popular pattern knitted on Ravelry! In this one day class Deb will demystify this enchanting design by working with you on a Scarf Size Clapotis, using a simplified and adapted user friendly chart.
MATERIALS: 300-400 yards of worsted weight yarn, US circular needle at least 24" in length, size 6-8. A package of clip on stitch markers and a roll of highlighter tape.
Bring your knitting gear and make sure your yarn is knit ready and not in a skein to start class.
PREREQUISITES: Student must be independent in basic knitting skills. Reviewing KTBL,knitting through the back loop and KFB,knitting through the front and back loop is helpful.
Contact Deb at for any questions.

April 3, 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
FEE: 30.00
Join our quarterly sock club and become a master sock knitter. We will learn a different technique each season. This quarter we will learn to make a lacey sock perfect for spring. You will choose from several lace patterns to make the leg and instep of the sock. Learn to read a simple chart and how to keep track of your place in the lace. Please be an experience sock knitter comfortable with sock weight yarn and needles. We will not complete the sock in class! We will also discuss how to adapt a lace pattern of choice to a sock pattern.
If you are new to socks, please take one of our many beginning sock classes and join us next quarter!
Class Level: Intermediate (somewhat independent)
Must have made at least one sock! Be comfortable with knitting, purling, decreases, yarn overs. Be comfortable with sock weight yarn and needles. You may use needle style of your choice (double points, two circs or magic loop)
Materials Needed:
Sock weight yarn and appropriate needles. You may use needle style of your choice (double points, two circs or magic loop). Please choose a semi-solid yarn in a light color to show off the lace!

Get Started Now!

Knit 101

April 5,12,19,26(a 4 class series)
6:30 - 8:30 pm
Fee: $67 plus materials

Knit 101 is a comprehensive beginner level class designed to teach you the basics you need to get started!
Knit 101 headband
Skills Taught:
  • Cast on
  • Knit stitch
  • Purl stitch
  • Knit 2 together
  • Bind off
  • Weave in ends
  • Working flat
  • Working in the round
  • Garter Stitch
  • Stockinette Stitch
  • Basic pattern reading
  • Fixing common problems
  • “Right Side” & “Wrong Side”

Learn how to use:
  • straight needles
  • circular needles
  • double pointed needles
  • stitch markers

Knit 101 WashclothClass Projects:

1. Either a headband or a washcloth
2. Your choice of 3 hat patterns
3. A scarf (to be finished after class)
Plus you’ll receive 7 knitting patterns to knit again & again!

PREREQUISITE: No previous experience required.

IMPORTANT: Come early to select yarn for the first class. Class size is limited! Call 512-707-7396 today to reserve your spot.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Anne Hanson is Coming to HCW!

Hey Y'all,
Anne Hanson is coming! I interviewed her recently so watch for that to appear here soon. Meanwhile, don't wait to sign up for her classes. Here's info:

Anne Hanson
Knitspot owner and designer Anne Hanson, is a life-long knitter with experience in the fashion and graphic design fields. Anne also teaches and writes about knitting, spinning, and designing.

Classes are filling fast! Call today 512-707-7396

Anne Hanson's SprosslingFine Finishing
Friday April 15, 2-5 pm

Fine Finishing provides the knitter with discussion and demonstration of various tools and techniques for finishing projects with polished, professional results; focus is on finishing seamed garments. The workshop focuses on the following areas:

* Blocking: preparation of knitted pieces for final construction, including blocking, sizing and care of hand-knit fabric and fibers.
* Joining: covers myriad aspects of seaming, grafting, and finished openings, as well as planning the right methods for individual projects.
* Embellishments: discusses add-ons such as buttonholes and bands, buttons, pockets, and edgings for knitted garments as well as picking up stitches.

Trunk Show and Lecture
Friday April 15, 6-8 pm

A showing of Knitspot shawl, scarf, and sweater samples and discussion of inspiration and design process.

Advanced Lace KnittingAnne Hanson's Maplewing
Saturday April 16, 10 am - 1 pm

An intermediate/advanced class which covers knitted lace (motifs with lace knitting on RS and WS of fabric), chart reading, working with incorporated edgings and knit-on edgings, shaping for shawls of various types, and fielding specific lace knitting questions from students. Students will work through a mini triangle sampler shawl as a class project (pattern provided).

Start to Finish
Saturday April 16, 2-5 pm

An intermediate/advanced class which explores various shawl starts and finishes. Included are center start in the round for a square shawl, provisional cast-on and pickup for a center-start rectangle, stretchy cast-ons, and picking up from a knitted edge strip. Finishes include applied edging (knitted on), stretchy bind-offs, and grafting.

Anne Hanson's StarlightYarn Voyage for Knitting and Design
Sunday April 17, 10 am - 1 pm

A fun class for all levels in which participants explore various yarn types and their uses in textured or lace knitting, in order to make better yarn choices for future projects. Students will gain hands-on experience in knitting yarns of various fibers, twist ratios, and dye applications. In addition, they will learn to swatch and assess fabrics for appropriate project applications. Discussion includes guidelines for how yarn type relates to stitch gauge, needle size, fabric texture and integrity, and how to use that information for substituting yarn in knitting patterns. Class will include a few exercises incorporating textured stitch patterns.

Advanced Lace Knitting
Sunday April 17, 2 - 5 pm

An intermediate/advanced class which covers knitted lace (motifs with lace knitting on RS and WS of fabric), chart reading, working with incorporated edgings and knit-on edgings, shaping for shawls of various types, and fielding specific lace knitting questions from students. Students will work through a mini triangle sampler shawl as a class project (pattern provided).

Sunday, March 27, 2011

CAMP HCW 2011!

campers on the porchIt's camp time again! These are some of the fun projects campers will do this summer (dependent on camp level):
  • painted woven scarves
  • woven pillows & blankets
  • needle felted bags
  • woven wall art
  • knitted hats & scaves
  • and other fun camper-initiated projects!

Dyeing a warpCAMP WEEKS

June 20 - 24
June 27 - July 1
July 11 - 15
July 18 - 22
July 25 - 29
August 8 - 12


Girl weaving on table loom
Time: 9 - 1 Monday through Friday
Fee: $200
Age: camper must be NINE years old or older.
What to Bring: Campers bring a lunch every day except Friday--Friday's lunch is provided! All materials for the weaving camp are included in the fee.
Sarah weaving on floor loom
1. Beginner
2. Advanced
3. Independent *
PROJECTS: When calling to register your camper, please let the HCW staff know what weaving projects your camper has completed at previous camps in order to determine the appropriate experience level and to individualize weaving projects for your camper.
Camp for Independent Weavers Needle Felting
HCW will continue its independent weaver program for more advanced weavers. Loom sizes vary. Loom availability is on a first-come first-serve basis upon camp registration. Independent weavers may wish to stay past 1 pm to weave or they can even sign up for the knitting camp in the afternoon.
*Campers must have completed 3 prerequisite weaving projects to be considered for the independent weaving program. Independent weavers are eligible to sign up for more than one session.
Campers knitting on the couchTime: 1:30 - 4:30 Monday through Friday
Fee: $65 plus $25 materials for beginners
Age: camper must be NINE years old or older.

1. Knitting Campers will work on 2 set projects to advance their knitting skills and will pay $25 materials fee to cover these projects.
2. More experienced knitting campers can work on their own projects and are not charged a separate materials fee.

Rinsing a dyed warp
1. Contact HCW at 707-7396 with credit card information to secure a spot for your camper.
2. A 2 week notice is required for cancellation in order to avoid penalty (unless we can fill your slot from our waiting list).
3. Group reservations encouraged! Your camper's friends must all respond within 7 days or their spots will be released.
4. Campers can attend more than one session and do different projects in each one.
PRICE FOR COMBINED CAMP IS $250. Combined camp price does not include knitting camp materials.

Friday, March 25, 2011

TONIGHT! Birthday Bash at the Buzz!

Hurry on down TONIGHT (March 25th) for our 30th Birthday party.



The Party Continues.....
Join HCW at the BUZZ Friday, March 25th to celebrate HCW's 30th Birthday!!
6:30 - ???

Cake & ice cream provided!

We'll be ordering pizza from Southside Pizza (dutch treat).
Call us with your topping preferences: 512-707-7396

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Happy Birthday to Us! And a Discount for You!


It's hard to believe, but it's true...

Hill Country Weavers is 30 years old!

(or is that 29 again?)

Enjoy some cake and 10% off of ALL purchases

until the end of March!

We want to thank you, our customers, for your unwavering support and loyalty by paying it forward!

Beginning on March 21
extending through the end of March,
HCW will contribute 10% of all sales to the
American Red Cross designating the funds to the
Japanese Relief Effort

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Normal Life Resumes! Upcoming Classes.

Well, whew-- another SXSW has come and gone. Whether you threw yourself into it or decided to stay home and knit, we hope you had a great time. If you missed the interview we posted with Snowden, you can scroll down or click here. She designed the beautiful green Hill Country dress for the Shelter Collection and the interview is great-- don't miss it.

Now that we're springing into Spring, it's a great time to grow something. How about growing your knitting skills? Here's info on some upcoming classes:

KNIT 201

March 21/29
6:30 -8:30
Prerequisite - Knit 101 or experience with flat knitting
Instructor: Connie Devlin
Gotten your first taste of knitting and want more? Or perhaps you need a refresher class to get back into knitting? We will help you take that next step into pattern reading in Knit 201. Get ready to put that knit and purl stitch to work! You may choose to make either a scarf or a needle case. In both projects you will learn various stitch patterns, basic pattern reading and swatching for gauge.
MATERIALS: Your choice of project. For scarf: 1ball of Araucania Azapa or equivalent. For needle case: 3 balls of GGH Aspen or 2 balls of Lamb's Pride Bulky (or equivalent) in main color plus (optional) 1 ball in contrast ing color. For both projects you will need: size 9 needles (straight or any length circulars), stitch markers, and a tapestry needle.
For the needle case you will also need size 9 double pointed needles.


March 26
1:00 - 5:00
Deb Marvin
With the option of learning either [Magic Loop] or [Traditional Double Point], students in Sock Express will spend the afternoon learning to make a sock from start to finish! Starting with the cuff, students will learn all the elements of sock knitting: cuff heel flap, heel turn, gusset construction and shaping and Kitchener stitch.

IMPORTANT: Please check in at the front desk prior to class and come prepared with yarn and needle purchased prior to the beginning of class.
Yarn: 1-2 skeins of Noro Kureyon or Silk Garden (we are using a worsted weight yarn to make an average sized short cuffed sock in order to complete the sock in one class setting). Please bring some worsted weight practice yarn.
MAGIC LOOP OPTION: 42" or longer US #6 or #7 needles
TRADITIONAL OPTION: US #6 or #7 double points. Students may want to wait till class to work with Deb on needle selection.
Tapestry Needle
Students should bring their knitting gear
PREQUISITES: students should be independent in basic knitting skills, knitting in the round helpful but not mandatory

March 27
FEE; 35.00
LEVEL: Intermediate/somewhat independent
INSTRUCTOR: Kennedy Berry

Add a little sparkle to your knitting! This class will teach you how to work beads into your lace knitting.

Beads can add substance to an airy lace scarf or give a simple design a little something extra. We will practice the best ways to add beads as you knit - discuss where you might consider putting them into existing patterns.

PREREQUISITES: Students should be able to cast on, knit, purl, increase, decrease and work yarn overs without assistance. Experience working a basic lace pattern and the ability to read charts is strongly recommended.
INSTRUCTOR; Kennedy Berry

MATERIALS: US 4-6 needles
.5mm or .75mm steel crochet hook
Laceweight yarn
Size 8 seed beads

Required amounts to be determined.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

We've Got Parking for Your for SXSW-- Fret Not!

Yes, it's true-- once again SXSW has taken over the city and South Congress is packed, packed, packed. No need to shy away though. You can still find parking so you can get that yarn you need RIGHT NOW. We even have some pictures so you can have a visual aid and know exactly where these extra spots are. If you double park, please let someone at the front desk know so if someone needs to get out we can ask you to move. Please do NOT double park and then go wandering off down South Congress. Here are the pics:

You can park in the gravel spots at the green house but please do NOT park behind the boat.

You can park in the driveway of the shop.

You can park in the alley next to KnitBuzz.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Interview with Snowden Becker, Designer Extraordinaire!

Happy St. Patrick's Day Y'all! In honor of the Wearing O' the Green, here's an interview with Snowden Becker. Snowden is a loyal HCW customer and a self-described "big fan" of the shop. She's been knitting since she was 10. She designed the amazing green dress pictured above-- named Hill Country-- for the HCW SHELTER Collection that came out last December. The pattern also includes instructions for tunic or sweater length (pictured below). This interview is part of an ongoing series chats with all the designers who created exclusive patterns for the book, which you can get-- along with SHELTER yarn-- down at the shop or order online right here.

That's Snowden (on the right!) getting design ideas at a St. Pat's Parade.

HCW: Why do you love knitting?

SB: Among other reasons, because I’m a full-time grad student, and knitting is a way that I can continue to be productive and creative at the end of the day. I often find that when the academic side of my brain can’t absorb any more research, I still have juice left in the other half. When I’m blocked in my writing, I pick up my knitting; when I’m stuck on a tricky pattern design or sizing issue, I put it on the back burner and read a journal article. Switching back and forth makes me feel more balanced and less frustrated. Also, have you ever TOUCHED yarn? Some of it is really soft and pretty. So there’s that, too.

HCW: How did you come to be part of this project?

SB: The HCW staff have seen me coming and going for years now, and I should probably just come out and admit that I often wear a newly-finished piece to the shop just to show it off to them. Suzanne’s always been full of praise and encouragement for me as a designer, so I guess I was already on her list of local talent when she started dreaming this project up. I said yes as soon as she asked me about possibly contributing something—what a great opportunity!

HCW: What inspired your design?

SB: When I first sat down with Suzanne to talk about this, her idea was “Hill Country Does SHELTER”—putting Austin flavor into the recipe somehow. The weather and the landscape here are profoundly different from where I was born (Seattle) and where I lived before moving to Texas (Los Angeles), so the terrain itself is really what’s always been most noticeable to me about Austin, and what I chose to focus on for this project. (Well, that, and I couldn’t figure out how to knit a brisket. Or why anyone would want to knit a brisket when you could spend all those hours making an actual brisket, and save the yarn for a nice hat or scarf or something.) Ranges of rolling green hills, the changeable-but-mostly-hot Austin weather, and Jared’s own patterns and aesthetic all got mixed in with my penchant for three-quarter sleeves and tie-front necklines. Also, it’s stretchy and has no waistband…so that you can eat a lot of brisket when you wear it.

HCW: What obstacles did you encounter?

SB: The SHELTER yarn was still in production when we started, and we just had one sample skein to swatch with. I knew I was going to be doing a large-scale project and wouldn’t necessarily have time to work out design problems if I waited until after the first shipment arrived to prototype the dress. I dipped into my stash and worked the first dress up in Berocco Ultra Alpaca. That has comparable stitch gauge but different row gauge, as I found when the sample skein of SHELTER worked its way around to me for swatching…and that meant tweaking some of the measurements for the final pattern, although it was mostly written by the time I got my bag of lovely green SHELTER. I ended up cranking out two dresses in about six weeks, and it almost started to feel like work instead of play.

HCW: How do you like SHELTER?

SB: The colors are amazing, and the texture is unabashedly woolly; it feels almost felted. For a garment like a dress, which just uses a lot of yarn, and will see a lot of wear on the backside and elbows, SHELTER’s loftiness and durability are essential features.

There are a couple of yarns out there that really have no substitute (I’m thinking of Rowan Calmer, for instance, which is unbeatable for stretchiness and its velvety hand), and I suspect that SHELTER will soon become known as one of them. You could go with another worsted or aran wool, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a yarn with comparable richness of color and texture—let alone the all-American provenance, which really appeals to me, too.

HCW: If you could design any project, and actually have time to knit it, what would it be?

SB: Well, as I commented on his blog, if Jared Flood asked me to knit him something out of Brooklyn Tweed-brand yarn that was made of rusty barbed wire and used dental floss, I would totally do it. I would even weave in the ends all nice, and everything.

Since we’re talking about what I want, though…I’m actually really lucky when it comes to designing and making things. I’m not only a speedy knitter, I’ve also reached a point where my skills are good enough that I can make whatever I dream up, and it usually comes out looking just like my original sketch for it. (Note to all those who skip the first steps and the pattern notes and just dive right into new projects: Swatching really does help with this.) Unless I’ve changed my mind about some aspect of it halfway through, of course, which I sometimes do. Becoming fearless about ripping out what I’m not happy with and starting over has been really liberating; I knit whatever I want to now.

I don’t play any musical instruments, and when I was getting my undergraduate degree at art school I was only a mediocre draftsperson and a truly awful painter. Knitting, though, feels like the pursuit where I have perfect pitch and an honest eye. I can sit down with those tools and produce with my hands just what I have in my mind.

HCW: How long did it take you to knit the prototype for your design?

SB: About two weeks for the first one, and a bit longer for the second one in the actual SHELTER yarn—since I was making corrections and adjustments to the pattern and experimenting with things that would affect the sizing as I went on that one, not to mention traveling and working on other projects during that interval. I’m actually working on a third Hill Country now—a pullover version in some Manos Del Uruguay Silk Blend that I picked up on a trip to Scotland a couple of years ago—and I’ve had that on the needles for over a month. Weirdly, the shorter I make this garment, the longer it takes me to knit it. I’m not quite done with the second sleeve yet.

HCW: What else would you like to tell us?

SB: I recently found out there’s an interior accessories designer in the UK named Snowden Flood. (I am not kidding! Check it out: I think she and Jared and I should all get together and come up with a “Snowden/Flood/Tweed” line of classy home goods. That would be awesome. You heard it here first!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Coming Right Up: This Week's Classes

Maybe you need a break from SXSW. Maybe you want to avoid it altogether. Either way, HCW has got some nice, chillaxing alternatives to the crowds. Here's what's cooking this week in the classroom:

Magic Loop Baby Hat

Magic Loop Baby Hat
March 19
Fee: 30.00
Ready to learn a new way to knit small projects in the round -- on just one long circular needle? You can use this technique on any small circumference (such as sleeves, socks). In this class, we will practice the technique while making a simple but sweet baby hat.
Materials needed:
size 8 circular needle, 40" or 47" long
1 skein of RYC Cashsoft Aran, Blue Sky Alpaca Worsted Cotton, Mission Falls 1824 Wool, Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, or other machine-washable, Aran-weight yarn (you need at least 100 yds).


March 20/27 9:45 am - 12:45 pm
Fee" $60.00 (this is a 2 class series)
Instructor: Kathy Bateman

Have you ever knitted a pair of socks and worried that maybe you knitted the cuff just a little too long and think: Will I have enough yarn to finish the sock? This class will relieve all that "sock anxiety"and you won't have to submit any claims to your health insurance company.
This class is designed for the new or experienced sock knitter.
Skills taught:
Knitting socks on 2 circulars
Learn to customize the fit of your sock
Start your sock with a "magical cast on"
Sewn Cast off (Elizabeth Zimmerman)
Materials: Your choice of yarn & needles as follows:
- about 200 yards of worsted weight yarn,
- OR about 250 yards of dk weight yarn,
- OR about 300 yards of sport weight yarn.
We will do a gauge during class. Bring all circular needles you have that are 1 to 3 sizes smaller than the suggested needle size for your yarn. (If you have made socks before and prefer to use dpns you may bring those instead.) Please also bring: a calculator, 2 ring stitch markers, tape measure, and your knitting gear.
Please have yarn wound and ready to knit

Sunday, March 13, 2011

It's Second Sunday! Come on Down!


Celebrate the time change & Second Sunday!
March 13 11:00 - 1:00
Grab your knitting/crochet gear and join Connie for some knit & knosh!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Shannon Okey Book Signing & a Few Class Openings Left!

Shannon Okey

Book signing with Shannon Okey!

Friday March 11
5:30 - 7 pm (drop in!)

Meet the author who will help you do it all!
From knitting to spinning to felting to sewing, Shannon's got you covered.

The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear DesignKnitGrrl 2

Her newest book The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design
is the first-ever book targeted to designers of all experience levels
who want to create, communicate and sell their work professionally.

Are you a new knitter? Our favorite beginner books are Knitgrrl and Knitgrrl 2.

Fiber lovers of all kinds love Shannon's fun projects and valuable information.
Her other books include Spin to Knit, Felt Frenzy (co-authored with Heather Brack),
How to Knit in the Woods, Alt Fiber, and a couple sewing books:
AlterNation (with Alexandra Underhill) and The Pillow Book.

Spin to KnitAlt Fiber

Classes with Shannon Okey

Due to popular demand we opened another session of Designer Bootcamp!

Shannon's classes are almost full!
Call today to reserve your spot 512-707-7396.
More info at

Class Special
Take 3 or more of Shannon's classes at HCW and get $5 off EACH class!

Friday March 11
Designer Bootcamp10-1$455 spots
Designer Bootcamp2-5$451 spot
Book Signing5:30-7freeOPEN

Saturday March 12
Sweater Map10-1$45FULL
Colorplay2-5$45 +$15 materials5 spots

Sunday March 13
Knitting from Sewing Patterns9:30-11:30$35 +$11.50 materials2 spots
Provisional Flexibility3-5$352 spots

Monday March 14
Hungarian Cut Felt Pillow10-2$25OPEN
Reserve your spot for Monday’s class by contacting Common Threads at 512-445-7270.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Blanton Tree Project Installed!

Hey Y'all,
A couple of months ago my friend Maggie asked me to be on her team of knitters working to create a tree cozy nearly nine feet long. It was part of a bigger project put together by the Blanton Museum of Art and Austin's Knitta Please, who is known for her public acts of knitting graffiti. Knitting on a deadline with acrylic yarn had it's less-glamorous moments, but I knew that when the whole project went up-- in total 99 trees in one plaza outfitted in different patterns of the same color scheme-- that it would be really cool. I was right. The installation was last Friday night and you can now go over to the Blanton plaza and see this Knitted Wonderland for yourself. Meanwhile, my boyfriend took some photos of the installation. Check it out:

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Is It Already Time for Another First Thursday Sale? YES IT IS!!

Boot Scoot Over To HCW!

Celebrate Your Irish Roots for March's First Thursday Sale!

Inspired by this Snowden Becker design and in honor of St Patrick's Day

save 20% on the following yarns!

Fibre Isle
St. Denis
Shepherd Worsted Sport and Sock
*Manos Silk Blend - Come check out the new sample of the SWEATER length version of Snowden Becker's Hill Country pattern made from this yarn.

All tweeds, heathered yarns, and any GREEN yarn according to the color wheel are also 20% off!

Pick a Lucky Coin from the HCW Pot of Gold
for your Bonus Discount!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Interview with Shannon Okey-- She's Coming to Town SOON!

Hey Y'all,

So, as previously noted here, Shannon Okey, aka Knitgrrl, is coming to HCW to teach a bunch of classes. You should sign up now-- don't wait because the classes will likely sell out. I was just taking a look at Shannon's latest book, The KNITGRRL Guide to Professional Knitwear Design, and it is packed with really smart info for those of you ready to take a commerce leap with your designs. You can pick up a copy at the store now, or watch here for details about Shannon's book signing. I recently interviewed Shannon via email to ask her about her classes and about her life as someone who makes a full time living in the world of knitting. Here's what she had to say.

HCW: We are so psyched you're coming to HCW-- can you tell me a little bit about your teaching style? Will we be doing a lot of listening, a lot of hands on, or a combo?

SO: I tend to do both, and I really, really like questions from an active and engaged group -- that's so much more fun for me! -- so I like to encourage everyone to ask as many questions as they want, even if it seems like we're going off topic a little. Often everyone discovers they wanted to know about [that] too! For classes like dyeing, I really do like to hand off a lot of the actual "doing" to the students, and get them going without too much fanfare. After all, I won't be there with you if you decide to do it again in your own it's good to really dig in and try it for yourself. In classes such as sweater design, I'll have students measure each other, because a. it's more accurate, b. you get a better sense of what you're doing because it's easier to see it applied to someone else and c. nothing breaks the ice like measuring your neighbor's bustline for her!

HCW: Lots of us who are seriously dedicated to knitting fantasize about making a living that is knit-centric. But no doubt there are drawbacks. Tell us a little bit about how you came to do this full time, the rewarding parts, and the hard parts.

SO: Exhaustion is a big one. I have what I suspect is bronchitis right now. Am I at home in bed? No, I spent 30 minutes chipping ice off my car so I could drive to my studio. Yesterday, when the ice storm rendered even that impossible (and left my boyfriend working from home, too), I stuck it out on the couch for a good 10 hours. I work crazy hours. Earlier this month, I did three back to back teaching dates in Philadelphia, Long Island and Manhattan. I drove the 8 hrs there because I've learned it's about as fast as flying, by the time you work in all the security nonsense (plus my dear friend Andi came along as a helper -- I love any excuse to spring her from her mom-duties!). The last class ended at 8, we went out to dinner, and then we attempted to drive home that night. I used to be able to do an all-night drive standing on my head. No more. Getting older is a drag for a workaholic like me.

So, yes, it's crazymaking and exhausting, but I love it and that's what counts. I get to hang out in a big old former factory building in a giant-windowed space filled with yarn and art -- my studiomate Arabella is a painter -- and no fluorescent lights (a big deal for a migraine person like me)! I get to make terrible, rude jokes with Arabella -- no HR department to worry about!

How'd I get to do it full time? I committed to it back in 2004 when I moved from Boston back to my hometown of Cleveland. My boyfriend is a major help and supporter. I couldn't do it without him, really. I always manage to pull enough income sources together (between writing for magazines, writing books, publishing other authors through my business Cooperative Press, doing design work) to equal at least what a "normal" job would pay, but this is a lot more flexible, which works out great for both of us. I get to be the domestic engineer, too, that's another aspect of my work life. If it means never working in a regular office again, I'll scrub the kitchen sink. Yes indeed.

HCW: You just mailed out Silk Road Socks preorders. Tell me about the book.

SO: It's a book of 14 sock patterns based on Oriental rugs by Hunter Hammersen, and it appeals to the geeky side of me, which really informs a lot of what I want to publish. The more history-filled, the more technical, the more obviously-passionate-about, the better. No one needs another book of 50 easy projects you can do on big needles.

HCW: Speaking of books, you head up Cooperative Press. Can you tell me a bit how it works-- do you accept queries from knitters hoping to publish or do you seek out designers and ask them to write books?

SO: CP does accept proposals -- but keep in mind, of course, that right now I'm the only full-timer (I do have college interns in the summer), so my response time might be slow! I literally do everything on the books, from editing to layout to sometimes even photography (and even if I'm not pressing the camera button, I am running the shoot, as I just did for the 10-book Fresh Designs series we're putting out this year). So far it's been a mix of people approaching me and me approaching them!

HCW: You'll be offering a session called Designer Bootcamp with a focus on your book: Guide to Professional Knitwear Design. I remember reading a NYT piece about an Etsy shopkeeper who makes a ton of money with her very simple scarves. I think that the media tends to focus on the handful of people who make it big in crafting. What about other folks-- is it "worth it" to try to market yourself if you only have time to run a little side business?

SO: Absolutely! Look, it's not "little" if it means something to you. And I think most people would agree that if you're going to invest the time into doing this at all, you should try your best to do it well. Not to mention -- and I hate to sound jinxy here -- but in this economy, are you completely certain your job is safe? You never know when you might end up with a severance check and a need to turn that side project into your full time gig. Why not set it up to succeed from the beginning?

HCW: Anything else you want to tell us?

SO: I can't wait to come to Austin at last! I have cousins in town, and a lot of friends (Austin being the crafty epicenter it is), and a burning, burning need to eat a LOT of tacos and food-truck fare. P.S. if anyone can sneak me into SXSW Interactive, I'll be your best friend.